Michael Brown, the black teenager whose death at police hands has sparked a week of rioting in Missouri, was shot four times in the right arm and twice in the head, a private autopsy report shows.
All the shots were in the front, contradicting the account of Dorian Johnson, a friend who was with Brown at the time of the shooting and who maintained the teen was shot at least once in the back while fleeing.
While the results have been eagerly awaited, they are unlikely to quell the controversy over whether the deadly force was justified.
Dr. Michael Baden, New York City’s former chief medical examiner, told The New York Times the final bullet to hit 18-year-old Michael Brown struck him in the top of the head indicating his head was bent forward at the time.
“It can be because he’s giving up, or because he’s charging forward at the officer,” Baden told The Times.
Baden performed the autopsy with Prof. Shawn L. Parcells, a Kansas-based pathologist assistant, for the Brown family attorney, Benjamin Crump.
Crump, who also represented the family of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager whose shooting death by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman caused a national outcry over racism and violence last year, said the autopsy showed the police officer used excessive force against Brown.
“The sheer number of bullets and the way they were scattered all over his body showed this police officer had a brazen disregard for the very people he was supposed to protect in that community,” Crump told The Times.
A spokesman for the Ferguson Police Department said the department had no comment because it had not seen a copy of the report.
St. Luis County, where the shooting took place, has also conducted an autopsy, but the results have not been released.
Attorney General Eric Holder has also ordered a separate autopsy on Brown as part of a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting.
A toxicology report, which will show if Brown was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the shooting, has not been completed.
The uncertainty surrounding the autopsies and lack of answers about possible drug use didn’t keep the controversy from flaring anew on Twitter.
Defenders of the police officer involved pounced on the discrepancy between the autopsy results — paid for by the attorney representing Brown’s family — and the account of Brown’s friend.
Dorian Johnson claimed Michael Brown was shot in the back, while running and then turned around. Um, no. Strike one. http://t.co/B8ZPqy826O
— mk danaher (@MKDanaher) August 18, 2014
The autopsy of Michael Brown shows the eyewitnesses are liars he was not shot in the back, and after falling on his face was not shot again!
— Dwayne Moore (@nationdivided) August 18, 2014
— Chris (@Chris_1791) August 18, 2014
Uh oh! The autopsy is in and #Ferguson‘s own Gentle Giant Michael Brown was shot in the front, not the back!
— Ari David (@AriDavidUSA) August 18, 2014
Check out the interview where Johnson said Brown was shot in the back here. The key part comes around the 2:05 mark.
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